Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/26/2004 03:40 PM Senate RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
        SB  69-BOARD OF FISHERIES CONFLICTS OF INTEREST                                                                     
CHAIR SCOTT OGAN called the Senate Resources Standing Committee                                                               
meeting to order at 3:40 p.m. Present were Senators Thomas                                                                      
Wagoner,  Ben Stevens,  Fred  Dyson, Kim  Elton  and Chair  Scott                                                               
Ogan. The  first order of  business to come before  the committee                                                               
was SB 69.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR THOMAS  WAGONER, sponsor, moved amendment  1, which would                                                               
sunset SB  69 as of June  30, 2009, and stated  that the rotation                                                               
schedule for the Board of Fish  hearings runs on a three to four-                                                               
year basis.  The effective date  reflects a complete  rotation of                                                               
the hearings.                                                                                                                   
                      A M E N D M E N T 1                                                                                   
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                        BY SENATOR WAGONER                                                                 
     TO:  SB 69                                                                                                                 
Page 2, following line 1:                                                                                                       
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
   "* Sec. 3.  AS 39.52.120(c) is amended to read:                                                                          
          (c)  In addition to other provisions of this section,                                                                 
     a public officer  who is a member of the  Board of Fisheries                                                           
     or the  Board of  Game may  not act on  a matter  before the                                                           
     board if the public officer  has not disclosed in the manner                                                               
     set out in AS 39.52.220  all personal or financial interests                                                               
     in  a business  or  organization relating  to  fish or  game                                                           
Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                               
Page 2, following line 10:                                                                                                      
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
   "* Sec. 5.  AS 39.52.120(e) is repealed."                                                                                
Renumber the following bill section accordingly.                                                                                
Page 2, line 11:                                                                                                                
     Delete "This Act takes"                                                                                                    
     Insert "Sections 1, 2, and 4 of this Act take"                                                                             
Page 2, following line 11:                                                                                                      
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
   "* Sec. 7.  Sections 3 and  5 of this Act take effect June 30,                                                           
SENATOR  KIM  ELTON objected  for  an  explanation. He  asked  if                                                               
section 7,  in effect, repeals  section 3  in 2009 and  section 3                                                               
provides that  the board member  may not act  without disclosure.                                                               
He  questioned the  purpose of  the bill  is to  allow people  to                                                               
declare a  conflict and  still go  ahead and  vote that  can only                                                               
happen until 2009.                                                                                                              
SENATOR WAGONER indicated that was  correct. He let Ms. Amy Seitz                                                               
MS. AMY  SEITZ, staff to  Senator Thomas Wagoner,  explained that                                                               
by 2009,  if the  Legislature decides  the proposed  amendment is                                                               
not working, the law would just revert  to the way it is now, but                                                               
if  it  is  working,  the Legislature  could  either  repeal  the                                                               
repeal, extend the sunset or get rid of it altogether.                                                                          
SENATOR ELTON said he liked SB  69 and tended to believe that the                                                               
bill would work, but if it  didn't, the Legislature could fix it.                                                               
".... In this case, we'd have to fix it if it is working out."                                                                  
CHAIR OGAN said he was  probably a no-vote without the amendment,                                                               
because he  felt, at  a minimum, eyebrows  would be  raised. "All                                                               
fish politics are  local, as you know." He thought  that having a                                                               
sunset would  keep people  who are serving  on the  board mindful                                                               
that this  is being tested  for a while  and forces the  issue to                                                               
come back before the Legislature for review.                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON  asked  for  and  was  granted  some  latitude  in                                                               
discussing  Senator   Ogan's  concerns,   which  accrue   to  the                                                               
sportfishing component  of the  board. He  didn't think  a Mat-Su                                                               
sportfish board  member should conflict himself  out when dealing                                                               
with Cook Inlet fishing issues.                                                                                                 
     .... I understand that there  are perception issues and                                                                    
     sometimes  those are  very, very  dangerous, but  we're                                                                    
     dealing here with a board  of seven people. If you have                                                                    
     a  person or  two people  - I  would imagine  there may                                                                    
     even be  occasions in which  some of the  decisions may                                                                    
     require  three  people  to conflict  themselves  out  -                                                                    
     you're then  put in  a position  where you've  got four                                                                    
     people  making the  decision.  It  makes it  difficult,                                                                    
     then, to do the board's work....                                                                                           
SENATOR ELTON  suggested again that  the law could be  changed if                                                               
it doesn't work.                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN responded  that he understands if  people are required                                                               
to conflict  themselves out  of certain  issues, the  board would                                                               
probably  lose  the  person  on  the  board  that  has  the  most                                                               
knowledge about that  particular fishery. He didn't  think it was                                                               
a bad thing to bring expertise to the process.                                                                                  
SENATOR ELTON maintained his objection.                                                                                         
CHAIR  OGAN asked  for a  roll call  vote. Senators  Ben Stevens,                                                               
Thomas  Wagoner and  Chair Scott  Ogan voted  yea: Senators  Fred                                                               
Dyson and Kim Elton voted nay; and amendment 1 passed.                                                                          
MR. CHRIS GARCIA, Kenai resident,  supported SB 69 except that he                                                               
wanted to  insert a provision  to kick  any member off  the board                                                               
who might  fail to  disclose a conflict  of interest  after being                                                               
challenged and that  person should not be allowed  to serve again                                                               
for 10 years.                                                                                                                   
MR.   PAUL  SHADURA,   President,  Kenai   Peninsula  Fishermen's                                                               
Association, supported SB 69.                                                                                                   
     What  would it  be like  to not  allow beauticians  and                                                                    
     barbers to  comment on  regulations within  their state                                                                    
     industry  board? What  would  it be  like  to have  the                                                                    
     Board  of  Physicians  not allow  debate  on  votes  by                                                                    
     physicians  on  regulatory  changes  or  have  a  heart                                                                    
     surgeon, more  or less, not comment  on that particular                                                                    
     board on  heart surgery because  he may have  direct or                                                                    
     indirect benefits?  The point  is the public  relies on                                                                    
     expertise   of  individuals   sitting  on   boards  and                                                                    
     commissions  to   direct  and   revise  for   the  best                                                                    
     practices   and  management   for   the  state's   best                                                                    
He  added  that it's  really  rare  that a  commercial  fisherman                                                               
active  in Cook  Inlet  has a  seat on  the  Board of  Fisheries.                                                               
Currently, none  are and it doesn't  seem like there will  be one                                                               
in the foreseeable future.                                                                                                      
CHAIR OGAN  said he had received  letters in opposition to  SB 69                                                               
from  the Mat-Su  Valley Fish  and Game  Advisory Committee,  the                                                               
Alaska Outdoor Council, and the Alaska Sportfishing Association.                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER pointed  out that he took exception  to an e-mail                                                               
from the  representative of  the Alaska  Sportfishing Association                                                               
that in part said:                                                                                                              
     I have been  unable to find out  what Senator Wagoner's                                                                    
     agenda on  this is  so I can  discuss why  he sponsored                                                                    
     this bill.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR WAGONER responded:                                                                                                      
     I sponsored this  bill number one, because  I was asked                                                                    
     by the Salmon Task Force to  sponsor it. This is a bill                                                                    
     that the Salmon  Task Force spent a lot of  time on and                                                                    
     crafted and  wanted to  go through  the Senate.  I find                                                                    
     it's insulting  to have people  write those type  of e-                                                                    
     mails without contacting me first  and discussing it. I                                                                    
     would  have  been  glad  to   discuss  that  with  this                                                                    
     gentleman and let  him know, but he saw fit  to use the                                                                    
     e-mail this way. I just want  to put on the record that                                                                    
     I don't appreciate that.                                                                                                   
SENATOR WAGONER moved CSSB 69(RES)  and accompanying fiscal notes                                                               
with individual recommendations.                                                                                                
CHAIR  OGAN objected.  He asked  for a  roll call  vote. Senators                                                               
Fred Dyson, Thomas Wagoner, Kim  Elton and Ben Stevens voted yea;                                                               
Chair  Scott  Ogan  voted  nay;   and  CSSB  69(RES)  moved  from                                                               

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